Buddha the 31-Pound Cat Dies

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Buddha, the cat who gained attention for his 31-pound girth and his attempt to lose weight, died Thursday in Franklin, Tenn. He was 6.


The cause was congestive heart failure. Although Buddha had been making progress with weight loss, he was recently diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, bringing a halt to his exercise routine.

Buddha first gained widespread attention in August of this year. After his owner died, the cat fell into the care of an animal shelter in Nashville, Tenn. At the time, Buddha weighed 31.4 pounds. Penny Adams, a volunteer at the shelter, took on the task of helping Buddha lose weight.

"I was concerned that either he would be put down because of his age and special needs, or that he would be adopted out to someone who wouldn't provide his special care that he needs to get healthy," Adams told Time magazine.

The plan was for slow but steady weight loss. Buddha's goal was to lose about a pound of weight a month in order to get him to a weight of 20 pounds after a year of diet and exercise. He was given a workout routine of low-impact walking on an underwater treadmill in order not to put stress on his knees and joints.

Buddha managed to reduce his weight o 24 pounds before his heart defect was discovered.

"The way it was explained to us is that his heart walls were thickened," Adams said. "The weight certainly put added stress on his heart." Buddha was looking for a foster home when he died.

"He loved spending his days watching birds and he enjoyed his toys," Adams said. "He was a very special cat and such an inspiration from so many across world who struggle to lose weight. My hope is that he didn't die in vain and that people will take feline obesity seriously."

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